Week 2: Growth Mindset Read Aloud #MinsetMondayLRSD

Welcome to the week 2 of our Growth Mindset Read Aloud #MindsetMondayLRSD!

We are so glad that you are continuing to develop you and your students’ growth mindset with us!  If you are joining us for the first time, welcome aboard! Just a reminder that you can participate however it fits into your schedule; don’t feel as though you need to watch the video and answer the questions on Monday – you have all week! When answering the questions, please use the Q1 A1 format and don’t forget to include the #MindsetMondayLRSD hashtag. We encourage you to look through other classes’ responses too and comment to build on one another’s answers. Feel free to tweet out your extended activities as well! I know we’ll be making our own “OK” book based on our reflections! We look forward to collaborating and chatting with classrooms all over the globe! With that said, here’s all the info you need for this week:

Week 2: May 13th-19th
Hosting class: Nycol Didcote’s students tweeting from @MmeNycol
Book:The OK Book by Kim Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

Watch this week’s Growth Mindset Read Aloud video right here:

Slow chat questions:

We cant wait to see what this week brings!



Parent Advisory Council=Pretty Amazing Community

Where to begin? Let’s start at the beginning. In September, a new school opened its doors in the Louis Riel School Division. A staff of over 60 were hired and we welcomed 630 students from over 20 different schools in both of our programs (French Immersion and English).

Knowing that positive relationships are key to developing strong and confident learners, our staff knew right away what our focus was – we wanted to get to know our students and incorporate their passions and interests within their learning. We wanted our dual track school to feel united and build community in our brand new building.

What some may not know is that our school’s Parent Advisory Council has been an integral part of this process. These parents volunteer their time to organize amazing opportunities for families to come together and get to know one another. At their meetings, anywhere from 45 to 65 parents show up wanting to share their thoughts, help in sub committees and make our school a great place to be, not only during school hours, but after! I’ve never seen a PAC so dedicated to its school population. From organizing regular hot lunches, school dances, movie nights, paint nights, theatre evenings, mental health workshops, gym nights and more- they work tirelessly to give our students and families opportunity to build friendships and bond. They have played such a part in building our school community. They have strengthened relationships because, like the educators in the building, they are here for the same reason-their kids.

Today however, all of the attention was on the staff for our Staff Appreciation day. I was overwhelmed with the amount of thought, time and attention to detail the PAC and families from our school had in planning this event. An abundance of food (breakfast, lunch and snacks-needless to say we were stuffed by first recess!), flowers and sweets, a banner, kind words, a video, cards and generous gifts. Not one detail was missed. They even covered recess duty!

Thank you! Merci! From all of us to all of you, thank you for making École Sage Creek School an amazing place to be. Thank you for your time, your dedication and your kindness. They do not go unnoticed. We are so lucky to be on the same team! As much as we felt appreciated today, know that we are equally grateful to you. It’s a pretty amazing community to be a part of!

Encore une fois, merci! Thank you PAC and all the families who contributed in some way to make us feel so special!

Growth Mindset Read Aloud #MindsetMondayLRSD

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Starting May 7th, we challenge you and your students to partake in our #MindsetMondayLRSD Growth Mindset Read Aloud! Each week, for four weeks, a new book that will deepen your learning and engage your students in powerful and meaningful conversations will be featured by a hosting class. You will also be able to connect and share your learning with other classrooms globally through slow Twitter chats, and more if you choose. So why join?

Importance of Growth Mindset

Stumbling, falling, and knowing how to get back up is an important step in our learning process. We all need to build resiliency and develop the skills to persevere when we hit road blocks. #MindsetMondayLRSD will allow you and your students to explore different children’s literature focusing on Growth Mindset while reflecting on who we are, where we are, where we’re going, and our uniqueness on that journey.

What you can expect

Each week, you and your students will be invited to watch a prerecorded video of a Growth Mindset book being read by the hosting class. Throughout the book, the hosting students will invite you to answer questions based on the book and your experiences. You can share your learning using the Q1 A1 format on Twitter. Don’t forget to include the #MindsetMondayLRSD hashtag in your answers. If a certain book inspires you further, feel free to share your extended activities through art, poetry, blogs, #BookSnaps, video reflections, etc. to the hashtag. Please note that you can view the video and participate in the slow Twitter chat as it fits into your schedule that week! Watch for new blog posts coming out every Sunday that will include all of the info you need for the week, including what class is hosting, what book they will be reading, the video link, and the Slow Twitter Chat questions.

We look forward to connecting with you and your students to see where this Growth Mindset adventure will take us!

Nycol & Annick

Ode To Things That Bring Us Joy

It’s so important that at any age, each and everyone of us have interests and hobbies that spark joy in our lives. One of my go-to’s has always been music. Singing in the shower or in places where the acoustics make you sound amazing even though you’re subpar. Playing the flute in the high school band or the sax in jazz. Belting out my favourite hits on the radio. Music has always been such an immense part of my life.

My love for music comes from my family, mostly my mom’s side although my dad is a phenomenal drummer too. Growing up, there was always music on, especially when we were washing dishes by hand. Back in the early days, records, then later, cassettes and CDs. Neil Young, Eric Clapton, America, Jann Arden, James Taylor you name it, we played it!

The Mireault’s (my mom’s side) have always been such a close knit family and whenever we got together for a special occasion or weekend pool parties on the farm, guitars were sure to make an appearance around the fire late at night and three part harmonies followed suit. It’s a running joke in town- “You’re a Mireault-music is in your blood” they say. Whenever there’s someone added to our family, they can’t believe our rendition of Happy Birthday! It’s one for the books! In fact, we even have our own songs book! It’s coil bound and 288 pages long! That’s my Mémère and Pépère on the cover!

Needless to say, growing up in a small town, my mom and her siblings all learned how to play guitar, mostly by ear. When someone’s fingers are on fire, there’s usually someone who can take over. I’ve always wanted to learn this instrument-it’s been on my bucket list since I can remember. I love how you can bring a guitar anywhere. It can instantly change the mood of a party and I love how you can sing while playing at the same time. Try doing that with a sax or a flute!

My parents always wanted to teach my brother and I to play so when we were in our late teens, they each bought us a Yamaha guitar for Christmas. We had all the intentions in the world to learn from them during our Thursday night dinners at their place, but those guitars never came out. Instead, we’d play a board game or talk until the wee hours of the morning.

My desire to learn how to play the guitar increased when I had my kids. I wanted to play them lullabies and kids’ songs for them to sing along to- but I never took the time to take lessons. There was always a reason not to: no time, too expensive, assignments to hand in for my M. Ed., mom guilt, and the list goes on.

Since I’ve decided in the past few months to do more of what brings me joy, I’m so excited to share that I’ve taken my first guitar lesson tonight! Do you know who gave me the push to make it happen? Three grade 7 and 8 girls who were practicing their guitar in our school’s main learning commons!

It’s so much harder than it looks and it’s really stretching my brain, but I’m so incredibly proud of myself. It’s nothing like playing the flute or the sax or the piano! So tonight I dusted the same guitar that was gifted to me over a decade ago and learned six notes! Check it out! (You can laugh at me, cause I’m laughing with you!).

I feel like I should have done this years ago, but it’s never too late. It’s kind of hilarious because all of the students in the time slots before me are on average 8 years old. But I don’t care. I believe you are never too old to learn something new, especially something you’ve dreamed about, that speaks to you, that sparks joy. It’s not foolish to try something new, it’s foolish to never try at all. So I keep trying…

Allow me to change the tone a bit. As a teacher, it was really interesting for me to be in the passenger seat and learning at my own pace. I was instantly immersed in the environment that my students live day in and day out. I felt so many emotions. Ok, it was my first lessons, but even with a music background and already knowing how to read music, I struggled, but I didn’t and won’t give up. I immediately empathized with students when they are learning new concepts and skills in my class. Some have previous knowledge but all learn at their own rhythm. They need to be praised and encouraged through the learning process and need time to practice, practice and practice. Practice makes permanent.

As I was looking our Mireault songbook, I came across a tune from Doris Day- Enjoy yourself. I feel it applies well to the message in my post.

So do it. Find time for things that make you happy. Put time aside for yourself and start crossing those items off your bucket list. You’re never too old to learn something new or try the things you’ve always dreamed of. Life’s too short! You won’t regret it! Ode to things that make you happy! Ode to joy!

My first ever song played on my guitar after my first ever lesson (learning notes B, C , D, E, F, G) and about twenty minutes of practice! You gotta start somewhere! Note my husband wasn’t there to film me (who can blame him) 🙂

On Your Bookmarks, Get Set, Grow!

I love to read. I love books. Picture books, non fiction books, education books you name it. You’d probably be surprised to know that I haven’t always loved to read. I remember my first day of school in Grade 2. I was wearing my new purple suede lace-up shoes (you know the kind where the laces are so thin and slick that they untie easily and slip through the grommets). I wore my denim blouse that had pink and purple flowers embroidered along the collar. It had brown and beige buttons along the front. This shirt went well with my matching blue denim jeans that had the same embroidery on the pockets. My long hair was tied in a low ponytail, and my mom had just trimmed my bangs for back to school. As usual, they were somewhat crooked.

I remember it clearly. I was sitting at a round table (not too bad for that era) with a few people I knew from grade 1. My teacher had us reading aloud one by one. Already an assessment to see what we remembered from the previous year, I suppose. I was dreading my turn. I hear my name called, instantly feel the intense heat of that spotlight and start to sweat. My hands were so clammy I bet you could see my thumbprints from where I was holding the page (you know the paper that was thin but somewhat textured).

The sentence: “La maison est jaune.” (The house is yellow). Words I knew but didn’t remember. I speak softly, trying to decode maison. Mmmaaaaa-iiiiiii-zzzz-âne. Wrong. My teacher said, “Voyons Nycol, c’est un mot que tu connais! (Nycol, you should know this!!)”. Making me feel stupid. I did feel silly when I remembered that “on” made the sound “on like ourson”. I hated reading a loud in front of other people. That followed me well into high school.

School didn’t always come easy to me before I learned how to play the game. After I figured that out, I was a straight A student. Honour roll each term, bursaries through university.

As I was studying to become a teacher, my love for books grew. When I first stepped into our new school’s library learning commons, I was in awe. All new books waiting to be cracked open. Hoping to share their story. Aching to be chosen to be brought home, held and hugged.

There are so many books in our learning commons! All sorts of books. I like to check out what my students are taking out to see what interests them. One student chose a book of mazes. Not an information book, but literally a book with mazes, so many cool ones, waiting to be solved! It’s called Labyrinthes by Théo Guignard.

What I loved about this book was how it drew students in. One student was looking at one maze then all of a sudden they were a group of four on the floor. What I loved about this book is that students tried and tried again to get through these mazes. When they hit a wall or an obstacle, they moved backwards and retraced their steps to find another way, a solution to reach the final destination.

My students loved this book so much that when I saw it in the library I took it out for myself! I brought it home to see how my kids would tackle it. They are younger than the students I teach and I was wondering if they would give up before finding the way out. Not a chance. My four and six year old tackled these mazes until I had to say lights out and promise them they could continue tomorrow!

Seeing my students and own kids persevering through this book instantly made me think of what I wanted for them as learners. I want them to persevere through challenging activities. When they hit a wall or get stuck, I want them to try and find a solution and not wait to be rescued by a “helicopter”. I want them to know that failing is an important step in their learning process and is a way they’ll develop resiliency.

I want them to tackle their writing assignments with the same enthusiasm as they do when they get stuck in the maze. I want them to use the different strategies they’ve learned when they decode unfamiliar words. I want them to think critically and try again and again.

Seeing them this interested and engaged reminded me of a great little book I recently finished, Code Breaker by Brian Aspinall.

(Hello World :))

This easy read highlights practical examples on how to integrate computational thinking and coding across the curriculum in every classroom. Skills that are today effective in developing a growth mindset while taking risks, problem solving, tinkering and design, to demonstrate their learning in meaningful ways. Brian and countless other educators shine a light on how their students develop a mindset focused on finding solutions with the given feedback. Using coding and computational thinking has made their students engaged and empowered. Students are meeting continua outcomes without even knowing it!

In recent weeks, Annick Rauch, my colleague and best friend asked me if I wanted to collaborate on a growth mindset project. I didn’t even have to think twice before accepting. She is always full of worthwhile ideas. The beauty of it is that this year, we are both part of a Technology PLN with two other teachers in our district. This morning, we met to plan our growth mindset project while incorporating many other books from our school Learning Commons and use technology as a tool to share our learning and connect with other classrooms. Annick and I had great ideas and we can’t wait to tackle this project in April to Launch in May. Stay tuned for #MindsetMondaysLRSD. We can’t wait to stretch our students’ brains and have them take note of their personal growth.